BeadWORKS aims to empower women and diversify family income in Northern Kenya, reducing reliance on livestock and natural resources. The program is part of Northern Rangelands Trust and partners with established women’s groups in conservancies, training them on bead craftsmanship, product development, and basic marketing and accounting skills. There are over 1,200 women involved in the program.
The Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) was established in 2004. Its mission is to develop resilient community conservancies which transform people’s lives, secure peace and conserve natural resources. By the end of 2014, there were 33 conservancies under the NRT umbrella, covering over 32,000 km2. These conservancies are managed by democratically elected boards, and are now legally recognized institutions. NRT raises funds for these conservancies, provides advice on how to manage affairs, and facilitates a wide range of training – from governance and security, to wildlife monitoring and peace building. As the number of conservancies grew, so did the need for a more commercial arm of NRT – one that could support conservancies to earn revenue from their own, sustainable activities and reduce reliance on donor funding. NRT Trading was established as a limited company in 2014, and now supports the development of direct commercial revenue to communities in three main areas - livestock, BeadWORKS, and eco tourism.